Basic Responder Training in the San Francisco Bay Area

On Monday, members of the OWCN management team led a Basic Responder Training (BRT) in Tiburon, California, at the Estuary and Ocean Science Center, a research and service organization of San Francisco State University.

BRT attendees represented OWCN member organizations from across the Bay Area, including the EOS Center, The Marine Mammal Center, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, the SPCA for Monterey County, Lindsay Wildlife Experience and the Greater Farallones Association. Newly hired OWCN management staff also participated.

View from the training of the San Francisco Bay

Our view of the San Francisco Bay during training.

After enjoying coffee and a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay, the 22 BRT attendees focused on the objective of the day: Learn the core concepts and fundamental skills needed for oil spill response.

While participants already have established skills in animal care and previously completed the OWCN Core Webinar series providing basic information on oil spill response, BRT gives them the opportunity to walk through the response process firsthand and learn their roles in various spill settings.

“After this training, the volunteers are better equipped to jump in and help us respond to a spill immediately,” said Scott Buhl, OWCN responder specialist, who helped lead the training.

Basic Responder Training participants

The all-day event included sessions on human safety, animal handling and restraint, documentation, and the importance of resiliency — recognizing the need for self-care during chaotic emergency response. Participants also took part in spill response role-playing scenarios and a personal protective equipment (PPE) exercise.

By day’s end, attendees are considered “pre-trained volunteers.” When there is a spill, they are among the first to be called to help.

Basic Responder Training is offered five-to-six times a year throughout the state. Our next BRT event will be held March 12 in Arcata at Humboldt State University’s Marine Wildlife Care Center.

Thank you to the Estuary and Ocean Science Center for hosting this training, and for providing caffeine and sustenance to fuel our day!

– Kristin